New Poll Shows Gas Tax Popular in Areas without Drilling

The Tribune-Review released a poll today showing support for a natural gas tax jumped 40 percent since the May 2010 Franklin & Marshall poll. The survey found state support at 63 percent.

The Tribune-Review reported, “Support for a gas tax is highest in areas where little or no drilling has occurred…” This finding is similar to a much larger survey by Penn State, which found that one of the reoccurring factors among those that oppose natural gas development was not owning “land in Marcellus.”

When asked if he supported the tax a Philadelphia Republican responded, “I would say I agree with him [Tom Corbett] on no tax on other things… I don’t want any taxes, but on that one [Marcellus] there, I think they should tax something.”

And a man who lives near drilling but does not receive royalty payments added, “A tax would ensure everyone gets some benefit.”

Pennsylvanians are starting to talk out of both sides of their mouths. On one hand they love the idea of Marcellus Shale benefits, but they are willing to strangle the golden goose with taxes before it has even had a chance to lay her eggs. Devon Energy, one of Fortune Magazine’s 100 Most Admirable Companies, decided not to drill in Pennsylvania because of the political uncertainty here.

It’s outrageous to enact a tax because an industry is prosperous. It is not the gas companies’ responsibility to fill a state budget gap caused by Gov. Rendell’s pork project spending and a legislature that has heretofore been bent on tax-borrow-spend-and- control policymaking. Drillers already pay the taxes common to every other business in Pennsylvania—already contributing over $400 million in state and local taxes.

Speculation and fear mongering has perpetuated the perception that a natural gas tax is needed to pay for the impact of Marcellus Shale development. In reality, the environmental and “social costs” of drilling are being more than paid for by the gas industry. Pennsylvania can’t afford to have it both ways and certainly can’t afford to lose a golden opportunity.

To learn about the facts of natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania, check out